Thai outbound travel surges as Asian flight capacities increase

Photo Courtesy of Azlan Hashim (Flickr)

The Thai outbound travel market is experiencing fierce competition among Asian countries, as flight capacities have increased compared to last year. The Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) anticipates that the Thai outbound market could recover to half of the 11.2 million departures in 2019, prior to the pandemic, due to stronger flight frequencies in Asia.

TTAA vice-president Chotechuang Soorangura stated that Asia continues to be the most popular destination for outbound Thai tourists during the first half of the year, accounting for nearly 70% of all outbound trips from Thailand.

Cindy Chen, director of the Bangkok office of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, expressed optimism for Thai outbound travel tourism, as a gradual recovery is observed each month. The bureau anticipates the Thai market to rebound to 80% of the 2019 level, approximately 320,000 tourists, owing to a strong flight resumption and an NT$5,000 giveaway campaign that runs until the end of this month.

Chen also mentioned Taiwan’s plan to extend its free visa offer for Thais after the current exemption expires on July 31. In the first quarter, 83,000 Thai tourists visited Taiwan, ranking among the top 10 source markets. Taiwan has set a target of attracting 6 million foreign visitors this year.

In 2019, Southeast Asian visitors to Taiwan totalled 2.7 million, accounting for almost a quarter of all foreign visitors, and contributing US$3.6 billion or 25% of its total tourism revenue. Thai tourists spent approximately US$420 million in Taiwan that year.

Chen stated that the NT$5,000 giveaway has attracted more Thai tourists in the past month, as it can cover the average expenditure for a trip in Taiwan. Thai tourists typically spend around 1,200 baht per day for four to six days in Taiwan, excluding airfare and accommodation.

The number of flights between Taiwan and Thailand has almost returned to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, reported Bangkok Post.

Hsueh Hsiu-Mei, deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand, noted that despite inflation affecting the entire world, tourists remain eager to spend while travelling.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has developed a marketing plan to draw more Thai tourists to secondary destinations and increase their average length of stay. The bureau recently launched a new campaign called “All is just right in Taiwan” to promote the destination, featuring local cuisine, shopping, and natural attractions such as Kaohsiung’s Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and Sun Moon Lake.

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Alex Morgan

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